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Taking Submissions: Puzzling Anthology

January 31

Deadline: January 31st, 2024
Payment: $25 USD
Theme: Speculative mysteries that include Puzzles. Riddles. Cyphers. Codes that need cracked and ticking clocks that build tension.

Puzzles. Riddles. Cyphers. Codes that need cracked and ticking clocks that build tension. Unreliable narrators, secret notes shared in the dark, characters who are in for the surprise of their lives.

We want to read your twisty, speculative mysteries. We’re looking for stories that surprise us with a well-drawn plot twist, so please make sure those twists make sense in the context of the story. We are not looking for twists that come from nowhere, but rather ones that click into place when we think back on the previous details in the narrative.

We prefer stories set in a rural backdrop with the intimate feeling of a small town. Stories set in a city aren’t an automatic rejection, but they will need to feature the familiarity and closeness of a more rural setting.

All stories must feature a speculative element, whether it’s magic or monsters or anything in between. All subgenres of speculative fiction are welcome, although military/political/alien-based sci-fi will be a harder sell. We will judge all stories by their own merits though, so if you think you have something that fits, we want to read it.

A note on horror: we are not looking for gratuitous violence, grimdark, or gothic romanticism.

All stories must be previously unpublished (this includes your own website/blog).

We will not accept any stories featuring bigotry, hateful language, or sexual assault of any kind. This is an anthology for adults so some sex/violence/profanity is fine, as long as it directly pertains to the story and isn’t used solely for shock value. We do want our mothers to read this, so any sex should be fade-to-black rather than overly descriptive.


Deadline: January 31st, 2024 at 11:59 EST

Word count: 3,000-6,000 words

Payment: $25 USD per accepted story, paid through PayPal or Venmo.

Rights: First world print and digital publication rights with one year exclusivity following the date of publication. Authors will retain the rights to their stories, and will be asked to sign contracts prior to publication.

Simultaneous Submissions: Life is short. We do accept simultaneous submissions. We just ask that you please withdraw your story by emailing us immediately if it’s accepted somewhere else prior to our decision.

Multiple Submissions: No

Reprints: No

General tips: We will not accept re-submissions and we cannot guarantee feedback on any rejected submissions. Please, no poetry. We will not accept anything outside our word count range, no matter how perfectly suited you think it may be. Anything sent following the close of our submission window will be deleted unread. Craft is important to us, and while we don’t expect perfection, we do expect pieces to be polished. Please don’t send us a first draft.

How to submit: Please send all stories as .doc or .docx attachments to [email protected] with your story title and your last name in the subject line. Do not paste the story into the body of the email, but do include a brief third-person bio in your email. Please, for the sake of our eyeballs, double space and use 12pt font. We also strongly suggest you use Shunn’s Manuscript Format.

Via: Hollow Oak Press.


January 31


Hollow Oak Press
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Hollow Oak Press
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